One of the problems of immersing yourself in any one sub-group of people is that it’s very easy to lose the bigger picture.
This happens in many areas of life but is true for bloggers and more specifically for those who are active in the ‘Pro Blogging’ part of the overall blogging community.
One of the traps that it’s easy to fall into as a blogger is to think that your readers care that they are reading a blog.
While there is definitely a growing percentage of the wider population that know what a blog is and that would intentionally seek them out to read – the vast majority of web users either are blissfully unaware of blogs or if they do know about them couldn’t give two hoots about them.
In my experience what web users DO care about is getting relevant and quality information quickly.
Whether they find it on a forum, a static web page or on a blog doesn’t concern them.
What worries me as I surf through many blogs each day is that there seem to be quite a few bloggers (and some blog networks) who in my mind are a little obsessed with reminding their readers that they are on a blog. While there is nothing wrong with educating readers about blogging occasionally I suspect in most cases readers don’t really care and that constantly reminding them of the fact that they are on a blog is something that can actually work against you.
This was illustrated to me a few months ago when after being Slashdotted I read the comments thread on the post that had linked to me there and was very amused by the fact that quite a few readers were paying out blogs but were completely unaware that their beloved Slashdot was in fact a blog itself. When some pointed this out to them there was a shock among some who said that they’d never considered Slashdot to be a blog because it had never promoted itself as such.
Instead of promoting itself as a blog as such, Slashdot works hard at presenting itself as a space where nerds get news about ‘stuff that matters’.
I listened to an interesting podcast this morning with Jeremy Wright and Tyme White where they picked up on this theme for a few minutes towards the end of their conversation. In it they talked a little about how many blogs and blog networks seem to be writing for other bloggers but are perhaps missing the bigger market of ‘non-bloggers’ who are not as technologically minded or web savvy but who just want information about the stuff they love.
I think their observation is correct. While I’m not suggesting bloggers need to dumb down their blogging I think the mind-shift of moving from writing for other bloggers to writing for ‘normal people’ (I can see bloggers everywhere scrolling down to the comments section after that phrase) is one worth making for most bloggers.
This means getting out of our own little Pro Blogging Ghetto and learning to communicate with others in ways that are accessible and smart – otherwise we limit the potential for our success.